“Tax Collectors Must Respect”

Ghana cedi

An entrepreneur operating in the mining industry has complained about the posture of tax officials, stating that they need to re-consider their method and appreciate taxpayers.

Asare Bafour, Managing Director of Electrofax Engineering Services, a service provider in the mining and energy sector, said tax officials must learn to “respect us, taxpayers. They must recognize as partners who play a very important role in contributing to government’s coffers.”

He stated that businesses need to be recognized since they pay 25 per cent of their revenue to the state in the form of taxes and stressed the need to nurture a better taxpayer-tax-collector relationship.

Tax officials should, he noted, must assist taxpayers in a courteous manner by educating taxpayers on some provisions of the tax law.

“They are comfortable when taking money from you but unfriendly when you need their assistance. They appear to be suspicious of every company,” said Mr. Bafour, who thinks that the relationship between the tax administration and taxpayers is a crucial element for the right operation of the tax system as well as for optimum revenue generation which is necessary for the State to function.

Mr. Baffour said “taxpayers like me could be encouraged to comply voluntarily with the tax legislation, through the attitude of tax officials.

To facilitate voluntary compliance, he called on the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to educate the tax officials involved in tax collection and tax audits to be customer-friendly and help their customers to understand all the procedures in the tax regime.

Many tax payers have called for the provision of consistent, impartial, courteous, and prompt service by the tax administrator.

Mr. Baffour acknowledged that taxes are necessary for nation building, adding, “We as good citizens create jobs to create wealth and pay taxes to contribute to nation building. For tax administration purposes we have the GRA but the staff within GRA must be educated to respect the tax payer. They should have that at the back of their mind and know that without us they have no jobs”

Tax officials must be willing to encourage and educate the entrepreneur” to foster a higher level of compliance and minimize misunderstandings of the tax laws and regulations.

Michael Agyapong of the Kama group noted that “tax officials put up an attitude as if they have come to intimidate, charge and penalize you.”

Francio Ashinyo, Chief Inspector of Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA, explained that tax officials carry out education at the end of tax audits.

“At the end of the tax audits we have exit conferences and at that level there is some form of education. At this point taxpayers can ask all the questions but sometimes they refuse to provide us with all the information that we need.

By Emelia Ennin Abbey 

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